Through the Mirk and the Mire
We stood in our ranks,
Having said our last thanks;
We were ready to die,
With ‘nets through our flanks.
The sun had yet to rise,
And the night we despise:
Not knowing which way to turn;
A greater torture no man could devise.
Then we heard a cry that made our blood chill;
The man beside me looking violently ill;
They were upon us, with no escape,
The creek with our bodies they meant to fill.
The first wave broke, and fifteen were lost,
Who knew our honor had such a bloody cost?
My legs grew weak and me hands went numb.
Through the mirk and the mire our defense was tossed.
Explosions went up to the left and right;
Lighting the darkness with harsh, deadly light.
Each moment I lived was one more of fear,
The bodies of friends fell through the night.
Through the smoke and the flame,
They came, they came;
And we fell one by one,
With our country to blame.
None of us here asked to be brought;
Just unlucky bastards who drew a bad lot.
But still we fell, we fall one by one,
At the end of the day, fifth company comes to naught.
Through the fires and ash,
They pass, they pass;
To leave us here dead,
Or under Death’s lash.
I breathe one last breath, for the sake of us all:
Who came here to fight, but fought and did fall.
The night now is ending, but my vision grows dim,
I hear a clear voice, my name as its call…
We did not ask to come here and die,
We did not ask, but they did not lie:
“War is brutal and grim, you might just fall.”
Well, I fell brutally, and now look upon a grim sky.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
Our uniforms picked clean, our guns all to rust.
If you take but one thing from this dead man’s rhyme:
Wage war not at all, but die when you must…